Monday, May 7, 2012

Advice to Myself : Louise Erdrich

Advice to Myself ...... by Louise Erdrich

Leave the dishes.
Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw the cracked bowl out and don’t patch the cup.
Don’t patch anything. Don’t mend. Buy safety pins.
Don’t even sew on a button.
Let the wind have its way, then the earth
that invades as dust and then the dead
foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.
Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
Don’t keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll’s tiny shoes in pairs, don’t worry
who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.
Except one word to another. Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic— decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don’t even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos.
Don’t sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth
or worry if we’re all eating cereal for dinner
again. Don’t answer the telephone, ever,
or weep over anything at all that breaks.
Pink molds will grow within those sealed cartons
in the refrigerator. Accept new forms of life
and talk to the dead
who drift in though the screened windows, who collect
patiently on the tops of food jars and books.
Recycle the mail, don’t read it, don’t read anything
except what destroys
the insulation between yourself and your experience
or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters
this ruse you call necessity.

All week I have been going through my odds and sods, vintage pieces of jewelry that I no longer wear, handbags that are collectibles, a few of my coats etc in view of taking the once costly items to a "depot vente" or selling them online. 
 But after tracing makers marks on silver pieces, and looking up the postage of various prepaid containers I am not any closer to finding new homes for still attractive old items. Frankly,the amount of work and expense to be done to get the item to the right person isn't worth the effort or the value of the item.  

 None of these things are particularly valuable, they shouldn't be in Christie's for example, but they are all little demons dragging me down with their tiny little claws. 

 The last time I went to the consignment store here in Nice to recuperate an Escada skirt that THEY had lost the first time I was there, the fellow said that probably they had given it to charity (without warning.)  "Oh that would be too much trouble for us to call everyone" , he claimed.
 Well, I wanted that piece to find a new home and now it has. Some tiny waisted girl is swishing around in a beautiful black pleated skirt,  still very much in style for this season. 

But oh, Louise Erdrich has it right. There is only so much pushing around of material objects that one should do in one lifetime. 
Basta, I think I'll go sit on the porch and look at my irises. I might even have a "lemon drop" (vodka,lemon) while I'm there.   These beauties will bring themselves out again next year and I won't even have to wash and iron them .....or try to get rid of them on ebay!!! What a thought.      

Karen Louise Erdrich, known as Louise Erdrich, (born June 7, 1954) is an author of novels, poetry, and children's books featuring the native American heritage. She is widely acclaimed as one of the most significant writers of the second wave of what critic Kenneth Lincoln has called the Native American Renaissance. In April 2009, her novel The Plague of Doves was a finalist for the Pulitzer prize for fiction. She is the owner of Birchbark Books, a small independent book store in Minneapolis.


  1. Lovely, but if you discard, hold on tight to the memories!


  2. Its weird, Lesley but I have a hard time looking back unless I am with a person that brings it up. Maybe when I'm in my rocking chair I will need them so will try to hold on... But yesterday I forgot the tune to "I left my heart in San FRancisco" so how long do memories last?

    Don't mind me , I 've had two lemon drops!!!

    PS. I remembered the tune today.

    bises, mary

  3. oh lemmon drop ..isn't that a song too? Save some vodka for when I get there...we have lots to talk about, cry about and hug about and cant't wait to see you...just a few weeks now!